Thursday, August 13, 2009

God's Anger and Mercy

Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen even to their judges: for they lusted after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their ancestors had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord; they did not follow their example. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they would relapse and behave worse than their ancestors, following other gods, worshipping them and bowing down to them. They would not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against them.... Judges 2:16-20a NRSV

Here is the pattern of the book of judges:

The people of God stray. This causes them to get into trouble. Then they complain to God. God calls a judge and guides that person. The judge saves the people for a period of time. Then the judge dies. And the people stray again. God gets angry and refuses to drive out anymore people from the promised lands....until God's people start whining again.

I am not sure who is more frustrating in this book: the people of God or God. The people should be incredibly grateful and follow God's laws. Yet they are constantly rebellious. God keeps getting angry...yet seems to forget all their sins when they really get into trouble.

Sounds like some parent/child relationships I know.

I can't stay too upset with God, however. This is because I know that I too get into a similar pattern of straying then crying out to God.

Thank you, God, that your anger is not as prevalent as your mercy and salvation! Amen.

Question for the day: What kind of pattern do you see in your relationship with God?

Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims

1 comment:

  1. In my previous life (pre-ministry), I took a precept (Kay Arthur) course on the book of Judges. One day, a group of us were standing in the hall discussing the book and someone said that Judges was all about the downward spiral of sin and how people sin and God had to punish. My friend,Becky, said, "Oh no! I think it is a book about grace! THe people sin, things get bad, they call out to God and no matter how bad they are, God rescues them!" Someone turned to her and said, "You must be Methodist!"

    As someone who has wandered off track more often than I care to admit, I am glad that when I do come to my senses that God hears and responds. Actually, I am amazed how often God is already at work when I call out!

    The book of Judges definitely chronicles a headstrong, sinful people but it also shows a tremedously loving, gracious and patient God!